What is Document-Based System Engineering?

System Engineering is all about dealing with complexity, as it helps avoid invalid assumptions and help to manage different issues - all for the purpose of producing the most effective and efficient solution. Document Based System Engineering is a modern approach to system engineering that focuses on creating and utilizing documents and other artifacts, as the main goal is to design and manage various complex systems. So, what are the main differences between DBSE and MBSE, why is DBSE recommended and what are its key features? During this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know related to Document based system engineering and everything related to this topic. 

How Does It Work? 

In document-based system engineering, documents are used as central means of communication, as these documents include specifications, test plans and more. Each document is a representation of a certain aspect of the system’s development.

DBSE - Key Features

  •  Structured Documentation - utilizing it in different organizations requires well defined and well-structured documents, to gather all the important and relevant information about the system that stakeholders are willing to develop and improve. 
  •  Traceability links - One of the most important aspects of utilizing DBSE is maintaining traceability links between various documents. such traceability helps the organization tremendously with clarity, as it ensures that every decision, design choice or requirement is documented appropriately and could be traced all the way to its source effectively.
  •  Version management - When your organization starts to use it, it is important to get proper version management, to track changes and optimizations over time - ensuring that all parties involved are being updated regularly with relevant and up-to-date information.
  •  Collaboration - It is particularly important to mention that it requires collaboration among Cross Functional teams, as documents are supposed to be a source of information shared between them. 
  •  Change Control - Complex systems tend to change and evolve over time, and that is the main reason it places a strong focus on effective change control processes for different documents. 

DBSE and MBSE - Which One is The Best Choice? 

They are both modern approaches to system engineering, as there are some key differences between them. The document-based is an approach that relies heavily on textual documents, while the other includes various visual models for system representation. Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses, as it all depends on the requirements of the system itself. See more about MBSE or traditional system engineering here.

Differences Between the Two Approaches: 

  •  Documentation Evolution - Through this approach, documentation is usually created with different tools such as word processors and document management systems. However, MBSE is a more dynamic and interactive documentation process, as models can be refined and analyzed continuously.
  •  Connections between system elements - When it comes to DBSE approach, the connection between various elements of the system being engineered are test-based references or links within the documents. On the other hand, one of the main MBSE advantages is tools that their main goal is to represent those connections visually, in a way that include features that impact analysis, making it significantly easier to analyze the system architecture. 

In Conclusion 

DBSE is a modern approach to system engineering that places a big emphasis on creating and utilizing documents to get the system being engineered to be well-defined and well organized. While there are many differences between the DBSE approach and the MBSE approach, it is especially important to understand that it is possible to combine those approaches sometimes, while it heavily depends on the system being engineered and its requirements.

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